When Should You Start Your Holiday PPC Campaigns?

2011 Internet Marketing Advent Calendar This is an entry in our daily Internet Marketing Advent Calendar series. Each day your favorite marketing elves will focus on a new topic to get your internet marketing in order before the start of the new year.

In the pay-per-click world, preparedness is everything. While reviewing data and making related changes to your campaign certainly takes up its own valuable time, it is making preparations in advance which really keeps a company’s ads running smoothly.

The holiday season is just the sort of big event which can seemingly arrive out of nowhere and take a business by surprise. And while making some basic assumptions seems simple enough — increasing your advertising budget to cash in on increased search traffic, for example — a business should always sit down and think about its goals, long before Christmas music starts lighting up the airwaves, or reminders of Valentine’s Day loom.

So when is a good time to start thinking about holiday marketing plans? As with everything, it depends on your business. Internet marketing has seen holiday ads debut earlier with every passing year, and so it’s equally important to balance normal plans with what your competitors may be rolling out.

Think about the goals which should be reached in order to determine acceptability, and then about what it would take to consider your campaign a rousing success. Look at normal day-to-day measures: maybe your PPC campaign is a best practices dream, and you’ve segmented out your ads across both Google AdWords’ Search and Content Networks. Maybe you have a campaign specifically for mobile search traffic, and another for desktop traffic. But have you looked into Remarketing? Sitelinks? Dynamic Search? Themed landing pages? Have you introduced holiday shopping thoughts into your ads early on, then built up incentive to shop with offers and deadlines?

These are all things which should be addressed well in advance, so as to make sure that you don’t suffer from headless chicken syndrome — running around and making hurried, harried changes, things which could potentially lead to misspend or lost opportunities. Online consumer spending is only increasing annually, and the opportunities are unquestionably out there. But it’s not enough to just react, or increase a PPC campaign’s budget by a tiny percentage — a successful campaign which draws traffic, leads or sales for your business requires forethought. So have you made your preparations with time to spare?

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